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Corporate Gurus Shape, Distort ALEC 'Models'
Henry Clay Ruark for Salem-News.com
Follow the money trail...
(SEASIDE, Ore.) - Corporations exist solely to extract money from any source they can process, using whatever means they can manage, maneuver or manipulate.
The so-called "modern" corporation has yet to accept and build its chartered structure and operations on any purpose but that of "profit" --however obtained.
Many "go-beyond" what such charter allows and seek community service; by far most seek only dollar-edge under rising stockholder demands.
That ''brute fact" shapes and motivates whole concept and longtime working damage via ALEC-"models" cunningly applied as tools to control and manipulate state and national level tax policies, especially those directly affecting education at all levels since "the complex educational enterprise in a democracy is inevitably one of the largest costs."
By long-recognized early/continuing legal definition, far too massively and deeply embedded and protected by economic, social and "laid-on" further legalized fortification, current corporate combinations of critical dollar-mass and purpose --defined solely in terms of profit-- have clearly conquered most of the productive world and come close to controlling our complete economy. (See any issue of any leading journal dealing with general economic and business development worldwide. Start with The ECONOMIST 1/21-27/12; then see Robert Reich's '"Government Overwhelmed by Corporate Money", on Internet at www.truthout.org, 1/24/12.)
Education is surely the strongest factor in personal, consumer, citizen and community leadership. To control that sequence has become so essential to any corporate progress that extremely close attention --and sometimes drastic action in various forms-- has been demanded of corporations and their leadership.
You can be assured corporate leaders and major participants have never, ever, overlooked education and its demanded systematic approach --built on essential affective and effective facilities clearly costly in both physical and staff terms-- for its extremely high values to them first as customer and consumer and second as producer of the corporate-essential working force without which "all else collapses".
Unfortunately, in far too many cases, this has become reduced to the most masterful shaping and manipulation of public policy that massive millions of dollars can produce, designed and applied to push back on taxpayers whatever costs can be so manipulated while preserving every possible advantage for the corporate balance-sheet.
Sometimes even billions so applied for corporate purposes are broadly demanded -- amazingly produced rapidly, effectively and affectively for application through owned-and-controlled media and communications channels, easily overwhelming those sparsely provided by and for community development and protection.
"Advertiser-pressures" are NOT unknown throughout 'the media' "; it is a widely-recognized reality. with its application re educational coverage and content far from unknown --as I learned rapidly as national-magazine editor.
Over the past century, in the United States and worldwide, as essential developments in every industry, business and segment of modern life moved to produce ever-changing models for progress and democratic equalities, that whole series of changing pressures has moved irrevocably and irreversibly from its early inceptions and ongoing applications.
These political power developments are driven by implacable and unchanging social forces escalating confrontational realities vs popularized concepts such as "the welfare state", "small government", and many other well-known but still essentially propagandist phrases obviously denying widespread worldwide realities --no matter from which-side applied!
Today's continued economic retraction is forcing still further public policy consideration --now well out of possible control by corporate means with modes and methods effective enough before --so even heavier pressures have come into being for such "professional activities" as the long-continued ALEC-cabal has set up and kept in full-and altogether too-effective action.
But those same pressures have created and strongly motivated national policy-monitoring associations and groups to bring on ever-more/vigilant and vital inquiry whenever the public interests they valiantly guard is under attack.
That's why ALEC --operating so quietly for some years-- has now come under growing strong and determined attack, most visibly by the Center for Media and Democracy, led by Lisa Graves.
See the CMD major website at www.ALEC Exposed.com, listing page after page of highly informative media and professional reports on the ALEC concept and its distressing general failures. Don't overlook simple, easy access to professional analysis of the distortions and perversions found in 1,000 ALEC-"models" currently on hand in many states.
For some readers, the ALEC-ink may bring up Century Link, summarizing not only CMD but other major media sources. Please note the heavy presence on Century Link of independent media reports as well as those partially or fully developed in cooperation with CMD and its affiliates.
That's probably the highest form of endorsement for the original, award-winning informational expose from CMD, which won a prestigious Hillman Award.)
SO what do we now know about ALEC ? We know it was originated and carried on for years as producer of specially-prepared "models for legislation", mirroring and reflecting extremely biased and politically-motivated content intended to produce state-level policy bearing those same erroneous characteristics found NOW in the 1,000 "models"-analyzed.
We know it was rapidly financed by Far Right sources such as the Koch Bros. operation, and that similar and very broad corporate resources have long supported it and extended its influence wherever possible --not only influencing education but also affecting policy in nearly every other politically-confrontational level.
It is not too strong to state that ALEC has become, over the past two decades, one of the most favored tools of the Far Right political groups, and one of the foremost recipients of corporate cash contributions. See ALEC Exposed/website for access to a broad spread of sources for such often lush-to-lavish cash/support.
We can only hope that the time has come for the Oregon Legislature to be fully aware of ALEC's transactional and continuing transitional influence, still hard at work in every Legislative Session; and of the ongoing activities of those who choose to lead what ALEC is dedicated to accomplish:
For which corporate interests are willing to pay lush memberships, finance operations at similar lush costs, and provide "scholarships" for legislators to attend working sessions --devoted NOT to development of mature, massively-needed and community-concerned policy but to those of the private-side (read: "profit"-side) interests.
At 21, Henry Clay Ruark was Aroostook Editor for the Bangor, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering the upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.
Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.
He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 650 written since then.
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